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From André Warnier>
Subject Re: learning tomcat
Date Fri, 18 Mar 2011 23:11:08 GMT
hanson zhou wrote:
> I'm finding it quite difficult to just go through the packaged documentation
> in order to learn to configure tomcat.  Especially as my  java is rusty and
> I don't know much XML.  Are there some good books or online resources from
> which I can learn tomcat in a good sequence?  What Java do I need to know?
First, don't despair.  I don't know much Java, and I run Tomcat all the time.
And I would bet that at least 50% of the people who run Tomcats don't know much more Java

than I do.

About your other questions, it depends a bit on what is your purpose for learning Tomcat,

and what platform you have available, to run it.

Lesson 1 anyway :
Tomcat is a Java application, so it runs inside of a Java Virtual Machine (a JVM in 
short).  The JVM is different per platform (Windows, Linux, etc..), but Tomcat is pretty 
much the same.
So much of the initial effort to install and run Tomcat, consist in fact in selecting, 
installing and running the JVM. Once that is done, Tomcat is just the icing on the cake.

Lesson 2 :
Tomcat is a "Java servlet container". Its main purpose is thus to run Java servlets, which

are little (or bigger) pieces of code written in Java.  One or more servlets which 
cooperate to do something useful, constitute what is called a "web application" (sometimes

also named "webapp", or more confusingly "context").
Java Servlets (and Java servet containers) obey the Java Servlet Specification, which 
would be a good place to start reading.  Despite its forbidding and scary aspect at first,

it turns out to be rather readable, and will give you a good generic overview of what a 
servlet container is (or is supposed to be).
You can get it here :

Lesson 3 :
Apart from running servlets grouped into webapps, Tomcat can also act as a fully-fledged 
web server (canonically, a HTTP server), and serve static elements such as HTML pages, 
pictures, videos etc..
But is less-well adapted for running things like cgi-bin scripts, perl or PHP or Ruby 
applications for example.  For that, you would be better served by the Apache httpd webserver.
One frequent configuration is to have a front-end httpd webserver to serve static pages 
and elements, and one or more back-end Tomcat(s) to serve Java servlets (or JSP pages, 
which are html pages with some Java code embedded).  You then link the front-end httpd 
server and the back-end Tomcat server(s) by means of a "connector", of which several kinds

are available.

Lesson 4 :
You can obtain Tomcat from various sources, and in various forms.
Depending on your final purpose, one or the other may be preferable for you.
If you tell us more about your purpose, and on which platform you would prefer to run it,

we could try to recommend an appropriate one.

On this list, quite a few people are rather partial to a "real Tomcat", downloaded from 
the one and only original Tomcat website at
But there are also free and open spirits here, open to more flexible approaches.

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